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WARNING: This review has spoilers.


Considering the hype the preceding this series, this show was disappointing. The show had great potential, with the concept of fighting for your life in an online virtual reality. While aesthetically pleasing to look at from the outside, the story and characters destroyed what could have been an epic fantasy series. I admit that I actually liked the pacing of the first few episodes, it went downhill after around episode 7, maybe earlier. With one of the worst cases of Gary Sue I've seen added with a harem that shouldn't be there (since SAO is not a harem series), the series became similar to the Titanic by the time it ended. If you already have read my last review, you should have an idea of what my rating system is like. If you'd like to check it out, click here: amikas117.deviantart.com/journ…

Here is my rating system to refresh your memory:

10: Nearly perfect.

9: Amazing, with few noticeable flaws. Easily re-watchable. 

8: Good, definitely memorable, but there's better stuff out there. Still easily a good watch.

7: Good, but nothing really unseen before. Usually from it's potential due to characters or story.

6: OK at best, nothing more than above average to average.

5. Limited. Simply boring, or somewhat offensive.

4. Bad. Regrettable to watch.

3. Terrible. Just an offense to your eyes.

2. Disgusting. A shame to anime itself for simply existing.

1. Imagine you found the perfect woman (assuming you are a straight male). Your personalities compliment each other perfectly, she had the looks of a Erza Scarlet, and truly likes you for who you are. Just when you're about to go the full nine yards: you find out that she was a man.

Now, on to the review itself

Story: The concept of being trapped in an online VR game sounds like a great idea at first, which it can be. But: the execution was terrible. The plot never really followed one direction in the first arc, and the second arc's one storyline was horrid. In the first arc, the creator of a Virtual Reality game, known as Sword Art Online, traps 10,000 gamers in a virtual world. And.... if you die in the game, you die in real life. This seems like a good idea on paper, but when the main character ended up screwing around for a good 4 or 5 episodes before the story really advances it's pretty easy to lose interest. With an added romance subplot that did little to nothing to advance the story, it gets even easier. 

Don't get me wrong; I won't mind a little romance mixed in a storyline. Hell, I'd even root for it if done well enough. I mean, I can watch Clannad and be able to enjoy it. But in SAO's case... what was really the point of it? Sure I can understand taking a break from a game of life and death, but what did Asuna see in Kirito? The show never really expanded on it. Not only that, but the whole thing between the two of them got in the way of the real story, and that was about at least 4-5 episodes.

Then, when the main story continues, the main character plows through almost every problem in his way faster than Garfield could empty a house of food. Seriously, Kirito is just so badly designed of a character. He's not only overpowered as all hell but he's simply boring. His personality is never really something to notice, and that seriously leads me to question his harem that he built as he continued his journey. But I should really be saving this for later. 

After beating SAO by coming back to life after dying and defeating the creator of SAO..... wait. He was legitimately dead? How sure was I that he was dead? Lets see:



Yep. It literally said he was dead right there in the show itself. No joke. 

I know in quite a few shounen, stuff like this happens, but in most cases they at least have some explanation for it. Naruto has Nine Tails kicking in before he really dies. Ichigo had Hollow Ichigo when he fought Ulquiorra (Though that was a far stretch). And Kirito..... had nothing. No life saving item, status effect, or assist (unless you count Asuna, who shouldn't even have been able to move at all at the time due to paralysis status. She didn't even save Kirito anyways). He had ABSOLUTELY no excuse to survive, and the show didn't even bother to touch that subject.

So, skip ahead some months after Kirito beat SAO, and the second arc begins. Kirito is back in a new game after recovering his atrophied body in the real world. 

Now, after SAO was beaten, all the players were released except Asuna. Asuna was trapped in that said game, so I can see Kirito going back in a world like the one he was trapped in again. Probably because of that half-a$$ed written romance. 

Before I go on, lets think of how stupidly the main villain did everything. He trapped 10,000 people into a game that sold 10,000 copies in its first hour of release; therefore he destroyed his company in that moment. He fought Kirito for the first time, and nearly lost to him without his Admin powers. Next, he fights him without invincibility and dies with the knowledge that he easily would have lost in the first place. His entire goal was to be a god in his own little virtual world, not seeming to give two f*cks about if the police caught him and what his company did afterwards. The show never even revealed where he has. How the hell did he get away? The world will never know. 

So in total, we have a very rich, manchild trying to act out his fantasy with a virtual world. What a plan. I never expected anything that'd come from Bane from the Dark Knight Rises, but that plan was sh*t. I mean, some villains have some pretty stupid goals and that's usually excusable, because those kind of plans are normally placed in shows not to be taken seriously, like Saturday morning cartoons. Or; the villain could be seriously unstable mentally, and not care about that kind of stuff. However, Kayaba seemed just plain retarded. He showed no real signs of being especially crazy (unless you count his manchildishness...) and was smart enough to come up with SAO, and go up the company's ladder the way he did. Even if he cheated his way there, he still need considerably intelligence. Hell, probably more than normal to not get caught.

So in the end, he ended up with his brain fried as he died in his own virtual world. 
Let's go on to the second half of the series.

Asuna is trapped in the second game of its kind: Alfheim Online. After getting a tip from one of his friends (who could've been an important character, but the show decided to focus waaaay too much on the main character.), Kirito dons his VRMMO gear and takes off into the next game to find his f*ck buddy- I mean, love of his life. Ok, between the former and latter, it was probably more like the former.
 
Since this review is getting rather long for my tastes, I'll try to make the 2nd half of the SAO story shorter.
 
  • Kirito goes to find Asuna.
  • Kirito's adopted A.I daughter is revived (albeit, in a very weak form. She went from Admin level to Navi).
  • Kirito finds another girl have help on his journey.
  • The said girl happens to be his cousin (who has the hots for him).
  • Asuna's older cousin (Sugou), the main antagonist of the second arc, wants to f*ck her.
  • Kirito through bullsh*t has all his old powers, but none of his items. If ALO was actually SAO in diguise.
  • Kirito through more bullsh*t, gains admin powers at the final battle with Sugou and beats him before he rapes Asuna
  • Kirito through the greatest level of bullsh*t shown in the series defeats Sugou IRL, the former having no hand-to-hand combat and somewhat atrophied muscles/bones, while Sugou surprised him with a knife.

On a side note, levels of fanservice in the series increased by alot in the next arc. It was there in part 1, but it wasn't getting in the way in the story (though, it was not too good to start with). Though, in the Alfeim Online arc, it got blatant to the point being blocking the view of the show's story and what could've been good with a view of Kirito's under aged cousin taking a shower thinking kinky things about him.

If you really want to know more details about the 2nd arc, be my guest and watch the show. I wouldn't stop you if I could; I just wouldn't reccomend it. At all. Because based on what I've seen this is my rating of the story:

Story Rating: 4/10 (At best)

 

Animation: As disappointing as the story and characters were in this show, I give credit where it is due; and in this case, it's definitely in the animation of the show itself. The bright, vibrant lighting and the fluid motion of most of the battes were actually asthetically pleasing to look at. I mean, just look at these screeshots: 

 For a 2012 show, I wouldn't be surprised if this was one of the best when it came to terms of raw animation. Unfortunately, no other category in this review can share nearly as high of a rating. It kinda makes me sad that so much money went into one of the least important parts of a show. I mean, if the story was amazing and the animation was crappy, I wouldn't mind nearly as much. I'd just watch a great 80s or 90s anime.

Animation Rating: 9/10


Soundtrack: Again, one of the two saving graces for the show. The first opening was probably the one of the few things they got right. The second, for some reason, I actually liked almost as much as one. Don't know why. I've never heard anyone else say that about the second. Moving on.

Unfortunately, I cannot find a video of the actual opening for SAO, so I'll just post this... www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO60ah…

Speaking as a person who dislikes this show, I cannot deny the musical talent in this link.

As for the music in the show itself; it's pretty good. If placed in a better show, the soundtrack would be able to amplify something good into something better. But... I guess we can't always get what we want.

Sound Rating: 8/10


Characters: By far, the worst part of the series. In this show; I've seen one of the worst cases of what I like to call OPMCS (over-powered main character syndrome), a main female lead that went from Erza lite to Princess Peach, and a final villain that makes the f*cking Evil Jiggle Butt gang from Fairy Tail seem more threatening in comparison. Hell, they are more threatening. At least those three have enough wind to knock people out, while Sugou in real life is even more of a little b*tch than he is in the virtual world. He's a shame to anime villains throughout not just anime, but fictional villains PERIOD.

Lets go into this in detail:



Kirito: AKA, Kiriguya Kazuto. Whatever you call him, I detest this character. Alot. Anyways, he's the main character of the show, and boy does he show it off. As a loser IRL with issues with his parents, he focuses on gaming to escape the real world. Apparently, he focused so much, that he manages to beat the creator of both SAO and Alfeim Online. He started like everyone else, no real advantage over everyone else. Ok, he had beta access with a few hundred other players, but other than that, he was pretty normal. Despite saying himself that he never cheated/hacked, I call BULLSH*T! WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT WITH GLEAM EYES?! He was clearly scared sh*tless, and that was with the help of Asuna + Klein. Then, he fights that thing solo, gains the duel wield ability, and beats it. So, are you telling me..... that having another sword in your hand gives you a Bankai-like upgrade in ability? Hell no. The way the show tried to portray things at least somewhat realistically, and the fact that the sword had no real bonus effect or anything to really help him, Kirito should have died. He didn't even have the help of his friends when he defeated that thing. The best they did was buy time. Gleam eyes then fought ONE on ONE with Kirito, so you can't even say his friends distracted it or anything. That's only one of the many times Kirito bullsh*ts his way out of something.  


The next case has Kirito in ALO. Because he had no magic in SAO, he has no abilities of the sort to carry over. He's being chased with Leafa/his cousin (Suguha) by advanced mages, and a phalanx of well trained sheided soilders. Kirito is explicitly shown to be ABSOLUTE SH*T at using magic. Not only that, but his class practices more so in the art of Illusion magic. So tell me this: How the hell was he able to slaughter a group of about 15 mages in some monster "illusion" transformation? Just look at this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_M74w…

I wish I could've found one with english subs, but you can still see the ridiculousness of this if you've seen the show. This "illusion" actually wiped out a team of trained wizards. He freaking ATE at least one of them.

What's even worse is the fact that there was no attempt AT ALL to even explain what happened with Kirito when that happened. 


Not only is Kirito overpowered as all f*ck, he's actually kind of a womanizing ass. Looking back, everytime there was a male character that he could've saved as they were fighting a horde of monsters or something of the sort, he never even seemed to bother helping them out. Combined with the fact that he led a harem of about 6 women (ok I'm guessing, but at this point I don't really care), this coincidence kinda leads up to this.

I could keep going with how much Kirito sucked as a character, but it'd take me as long as it would take for One Piece to finish. (I personally have nothing againest One Piece).
The only good I really saw in him was that he was....crap I can't think of anything. Lets move on to the next character.


Asuna: Simply put, the greatest disappointment in the series. From the first few episodes, she actually pulled her own weight; doing a good chunk of work killing the first boss in the series, earning the nickname "Lightning Flash Asuna", and giving even the main over-powered main character some pause. But......when episode 7 happened, she went down hill from there not only as a character, but also as a fighter. At least it seems like that for the latter. She couldn't do jack sh*t to even really help Kirito againest Gleam Eyes, spent at least a good month or two on vacation doing what you'd guess with Kirito, hid behind the sad excuse of a man Kirito at the sight of a "ghost", and was grossed out by frog legs. You'd think the woman who's probably in the top 15 for best players in the game would brush off the last two things like nothing, since her life for 2 years was literally a death game.

In season 2, she couldn't do ANYTHING, as her older cousin locked her in a bird cage for most of that half of the show. Well, granted she was against the head admin for the game. I give her that. But the fact that she went this low in the series is a shame in itself. She became a rape case waiting to happen, almost literally. In episode 21, she was going to get tentacle raped. For a moment, SAO almost went from fantasy/adventure to hentai.  As I have said before, she went from Erza Lite to Princess Peach. From Major Kusanagi to Sakura Haruno (pre Shippuden at that). From Riza Hawkeye to early One Piece Nami; but worse.  
 


Sugou: If you've seen SAO, I hardly need an explanation here. He had nothing good for me to start with, and ended up being one of the worst villians I have seen in anime. Asuna practically devolved into a b*tch by the time this guy showed up; but between the 2 characters, he was an even bigger b*tch. To think this guy was the final villian of the series... when we have characters like Alduin, Deathwing, Aizen, Madara, Sephiroth, Jack of Blades, Xemnas, Vlitra, and a long vast list of other epic characters. 

Ok, maybe some of these guys are kinda unfair to compare someone to, but... how horribly built of a character he is just inexcusable.

Let's take a look at how this guy pisses me off:

  • This guy looks like... a fairy prince(ss). Ok, I mean he's supposed to be the king of elves, but seriously, who the f*ck designed him as the FINAL villain. When I think of final boss to a game or anime, I think of stuff like this (especially for something with fantasy elements):

Deathwing (World of Warcraft)




Vlitra Core (Asura's Wrath)

I mean, I know there are characters out there that don't look imtimadating, but are actually powerful; but that's usually on purpose. Sugou isn't even trying to lure the audience (or Kirito), into a false sense of security with his less than threatening appearance. He looks just like the way he acts: "...like a little b*tch". -Frieza (TFS version).

  • He wasn't even evil for a really good reason. Ok, maybe reason isn't the right word (just take a good look at The Dark Knight's Joker), but the way his plan was executed in the story may be what I'm refering to. The only thing he really tried to do was f*ck his underaged younger cousin and make money off of potential mind control from the VRMMO gear; with more emphasis on the former.
  • This guy is the final villain (I know I mention this alot, but please bear with me), and he screams like a scared 7 year old, both IRL and practically a (flawed) god in his game. Go ahead and watch.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wke1j3…


I'd go more into the characters, but the thing is, the show was so much about Kirito, there isn't even much for me to say about almost anyone else. Other than Kirito, Asuna, Suguha (Kirito's cousin) and the main villians, the other characters don't do sh*t. Klein, and Agil were kinda like "that one guy I play with sometimes on Xbox Live."
Out of the series, this was the worst thing the show performed on. Period.

This is how I honestly feel about the characters for SAO, except Klein, Agil, and even Recon:

Character Rating: 3/10

Total Enjoyment: With a sh*tty story and even sh*ttier characters, I'd say this show is simliar to a shiny piece of sh*t. The external properties of the show is obviously where most of the money went when developing this show, with a pretty good soundtrack and great looking animation. I actually thought Sword Art Online was a pretty legit series in the first few episodes: but because the story felt like something written from a fantasy obsessed 15 year old, an over-powered, boring main character with a growing harem the more he travels (while hogging the spotlight of other "important characters"), and two ABSOLUTELY sh*tty villians, I regretted this experiance. If the animation and soundtrack weren't the saving grace of the show, I'd give this series a 3/10, but because I give credit where it's due, I can give it one more point. And no, I'm not doing this mathatically, because that'd mean the soundtrack and animation would be just as important as the story and characters, which (at least in my belief) is not true. Sure, SAO had some enjoyable moments, but those are far over-shadowed by the negative aspects of the series.

My Reccomendation: If you put little thought into watch anything, you might like it. If you don't, save yourself from wasting about 10 hours of your life.

Overall Rating: 4/10



Reccomended Shows*:
  • Log Horizon
  • .Hack series

*I am doing this by what I have heard. I've yet to see any of the 2 series, but know enough to know that they follow the virtual reality kinda story. Don't take this too seriously.







 
 

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:iconmarchands-de-reves:
Marchands-De-Reves 2 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for the fave :)
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Axcido Mar 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great gallery!♥
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:iconamikas117:
Thanks! I can say the same about yours.
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Akela-Nakamura Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
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:iconamikas117:
Thank you! Now I'm legally a man. Doesn't feel too different from the usual.
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Akela-Nakamura Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome.
And yeah, getting older doesn't seem like much does it? Its just like okay, now your a legal adult...So yeah...Lol.
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:iconamikas117:
Well, at least I can buy a few things a minor can't.
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:iconhsvhrt:
Thank you for the fav.
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:iconamikas117:
No problem. I love your DBZ art.
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Thanks for the fave! :)
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